Happy New Year! Welcome back to Fowler’s Wells for our 7th home game of the season and fifteenth game in total. We hope that you have had an enjoyable Christmas break and enjoyed the rest. Well, what a fixture to open the New Year with as we welcome high flying, 3rd placed team Sutton & Epsom, to Fowler’s Wells.
Before discussing today’s game let’s reflect on 2014 in general and in particular our last couple of results. Well the story of calendar year 2014 in total was played 26, won 19 and lost 7. By April 2014, we had consolidated our first year back in London 1 with a highly creditable 5th spot. Rolling onto December 2014, we find ourselves in an improved position in 4th spot but importantly well in touch with the clubs above us. So, reflecting on our last couple of games and importantly two convincing bonus point wins. First up at home was Hove. The score line of 69-38 says it all; fifteen tries with both sides showing great attacking flair but defensively too much Christmas spirit was given. At least the supporters went home happy, well fed by Dave Buchan’s turkey lunch and watered by many pints of Mighty Mighty!
Well we knew what was on the coaching team of Ryan and Tony’s Christmas list during the week and that was a much improved defensive showing. Well Santa sure found out who’d been naughty or nice as their stocking was filled to the brim at Twickenham, with a defensive performance of the highest quality which laid the foundation for a convincing 29-8 away win against a pretty useful unit. With a Josh Devitt try sealing the bonus point (also making us the league’s leading points scorers by a fair margin) and Liam Cranford’s Cannons delivering a great performance to demolish Twickenham 2nds, the whole camp settled in for the well-earned break on the back of a 1st XV four game winning run and two very complete performances from the whole squad. It was also good to report that yet another former Chobham junior has progressed to 1st XV rugby with 18 year old Justin Rowland making his bow in the back row. This means that 60% of those that have worn 1st XV colours this season have come through the junior/senior production line- a fantastic stat. Speaking of which I would to congratulate Harry Guy on his 100th 1st XV appearance today and like Ryan a few weeks back, he joins our exclusive band of Centurions. A separate piece is in today’s match day programme.
So to today and our visitors S&E. Well, our fortunes have seemed to be entangled in recent years with a number of epic battles where the result was in the balance right until the end. Who can forget the Surrey Trophy Final where Andrew MacDougall’s sensational hat trick delivered us the silverware? On the other hand it was the men in black and white who in the 86th minute took away Chobham’s unbeaten record of 22 matches in October 2013. At Rugby Lane earlier this season Chob pulled off a 30-22 victory in another intense contest. Since then our visitors have gone on an 11 match unbeaten run which has propelled them up the table into 3rd place, two points ahead of Chob.
All the players will be bursting to take the field today in what should be an epic encounter between two similar community clubs who play rugby the right way. Ryan and Tony will have the group focussed with the Cannons also taking on S&E in a hotly contested double header. In close encounters, the touchline will be really important and the players will as ever be grateful for your support in cheering us onto victory as our 16th man. Come on CHOBHAAAM!!
Happy New Year from all the senior squad at Chob!
Nigel Guy, Chobham RFC Director of Rugby